Things You May Not Know About School Nursing by Amy Pawlak Tyler ISD Public Relations Coordinator tylertoday education Texas Health and Human Services defines school nursing as: A specialized practice of nursing, protects and promotes student health, facilitates optimal development and advances academic success. School nurses, grounded in ethical and evidence-based practice, are the leaders who bridge health care and education, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care and collaborate to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potential. (Approved by the NASN Board of Directors February 2017.) By this definition, the roles and responsibilities of school nurses have certainly evolved over the years. Many may remember school nurses primarily treating tummy aches and check temperatures before either sending students home or back to class. However, today’s school nurse manages much more than acute childhood illnesses. School nurses also provide care to students with chronic or serious health issues, form family and community partnerships and so much more. Every day, school nurses provide professional medical assistance, including responsive and preventative care, helping to ensure students thrive in the classroom. Without these unsung heroes, many students would not be able to receive the care they need while also achieving their educational goals. According to Rachel Barber, RN, BSN, Tyler ISD Coordinator of Health Services, school nursing is a multifaceted career that includes a wide array of medical practices and concerns, such as screening students for vision, hearing and spinal abnormalities all the way up to performing complex procedures on critically ill students with tracheostomies, feeding tubes and catheters. School nurses are sometimes the first to detect, assess and refer students to a physician in order to confirm a new disease process, such as seizures, diabetes or cardiac issues. Home visits and hospital follow up visits are also not an uncommon occurrence for many school nurses. “The acuity of students has changed dramatically,” Barber said. “School nurses are now increasingly monitoring blood sugar levels for students with diabetes, blood pressure levels due to heart conditions, treating seizures regularly, assisting with 504 planning (special education accommodations) and developing emergency action plans on students with specific disease processes.” Tyler ISD school nurse, Isabel Luce, RN, has also seen a dramatic change in the school nursing field over the years. “In the past, we had the regular day-to-day complaints, stomach aches, fever and other simple childhood illnesses.